2021 showed strong progress in the Cohesion Policy expenditure
From 2014 to 2020, the European Union reportedly spent €358 billion within the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) to help regions of the European Union to reform their economies. This included helping small businesses, increasing employment, and promoting an environmentally friendly economy.
Such a large investment makes it very important to promote transparency in how funds were used, which is exactly what the Cohesion Open Data Platform provides. This platform visualises data for over 530 programmes using interactive charts. For example, the platform shows that, in 2021, Member States spent €81 billion, which is a large increase over previous years. Why? The platform provides the answer at a glance, showing that Member States used more funding in their emergency responses to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the portal shows that the 2020 Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives and additional REACT-EU financing from 2021 were ways that the ESI Funds reacted and reallocated resources to fight the virus.
The Cohesion Open Data Platform allows users to find details of that funding, with the EU helping Member States purchase 3.3 billion items of personal protective equipment, 13,200 ventilators, and 138 million COVID-19 vaccination doses. It also funded 12,500 extra hospital bed spaces across the European Union. Furthermore, businesses received €12 billion in working capital, while workers and vulnerable groups received €5 billion.